BEST Community Shed donates $5K to Inverell Volunteer Rescue Association

ASSISTANCE: Holding the $5000 cheque are VRA Secretary Chris Reeves (left)
and Captain Jason Tom with BEST CEO Penny Alliston-Hall (centre) and a raft of Shed
volunteers.
ASSISTANCE: Holding the $5000 cheque are VRA Secretary Chris Reeves (left) and Captain Jason Tom with BEST CEO Penny Alliston-Hall (centre) and a raft of Shed volunteers.

Inverell’s Volunteer Rescue Association (VRA) is one of the first responders most valued in times of crisis, and the local branch has received a boost to help them assist our community.

VRA rescue squad Captain Jason Tom, and Secretary and equipment officer Chris Reeves received a $5000 donation from the BEST Community Shed profits on December 6 at the Otho Street shop.

Chris said the BEST Shed donation will go a long way toward replacing the 24-year- old truck they rely upon, coupled with the VRA auxiliary’s raft of fundraising efforts and the team of community groups who have supported the organisation.

“It has most of our major equipment that we may need at the site, and that’s getting very tired, that vehicle, and we need to look at replacing it,” Jason said.

“It’s donations like this that actually keep us on the road, and going.”

BEST Employment Chief Executive Officer Penny Alliston-Hall was glad the BEST Shed funds and team effort were supporting such a vital local service.

“The VRA is a critical organisation in our community which assists anybody in an extreme crisis situation,” she said.

“We are proud to be able to support such an outstanding team of generous volunteers.”

The VRA official coverage area is the whole of Inverell Shire, but in times of extreme emergency, the Jason said their specialised rescue volunteers may be called to scenes across New South Wales and Australia.

“Our role in the Inverell area is we’re primary rescue, which is mainly motor vehicle accidents - not the minor ones, but normally the serious ones, where people are actually trapped,” Jason said.

“But, we also assist with animal rescue, general land search, waterway recoveries; anything the police or ambulance need us to assist them with.”

Chris said they work hand in glove with paramedics to precisely open vehicles so accident victims may be extricated most safely. The VRA also work closely with the Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue and the SES.

BEST Community Programs Coordinator Brett Hawkins said the altruistic ethos of the VRA is echoed in the work of the BEST Shed volunteers.

“The donation to the VRA, it’s quite special when you get talking to these guys out on the floor,” Brett said.

“For our volunteers here, it’s an acknowledgement that they’re contributing back to the community. It just builds their courage, it builds their character, and most of all, it builds their culture of giving.”

Jason said they are always looking for new volunteers aged 18 and up.

Those interested may come along to have a look during VRA training nights on Wednesdays from 7-9pm or the last Sunday of the month at their Medora Street headquarters.

To learn more about the VRA, phone Jason Tom on 0402 470 165.